As the holidays approach, hosts and hostesses across America prepare to enter party mode. Massive grocery lists get checked off, the bar is brimming with booze and everyone operates in overdrive, trying to keep stress at bay.
Whether you’re hosting an intimate cocktail party or a full-blown holiday shindig, wine and cheese reign as the tried-and-true staples of entertaining. If you’ve never created pairings before, fear not — we’re here to help.
Do some research before your party to determine the perfect wine and cheese pairings. We recommend eating a bite of cheese and then trying the cheese again with a sip of wine to see how the cheese flavor changes. Many cheeses pair well with the same types of wines, so choose smartly to prevent over-spending at the wine shop.
To help you get started, we’ve created a handy pairings guide — simply match wines with the cheeses of your choice, and let the party begin!
These are mild and usually used in desserts, dips or spreads.
Types: Ricotta, feta, goat cheese
Pairs best with: Fruity whites, such as sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio, and light reds like Beaujolais
These are creamy and usually served at room temperature or slightly oven-warmed.
Types: Brie, Camembert, robiola
Pairs best with: White wines, including Champagne, sparkling wine and chardonnay. These cheeses also pair well with easy-drinking pinot noir.
These come in an array of flavors and are sharper than soft-rind cheeses.
Types: Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyere
Pairs best with: White wines, such as chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, sparkling wines and pinot noir
These are aged longer, have a more intense flavor and often taste salty or spicy.
Types: Parmesan, Asiago, Manchego
Pairs best with: Riesling and sauvignon blanc, as well as merlot and Italian reds like Chianti
Their pungency demands equal intensity when it comes to food and wine pairings.
Types: Blue, Gorgonzola, Stilton
Pairs best with: Bold, fruity reds, such as zinfandel and syrah, that can stand up to the cheese’s intensity